Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

C.J. Harris Helps Himself on 'American Idol'; Results Show to Air Thursday

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

C.J. Harris Helps Himself on 'American Idol'; Results Show to Air Thursday

Article excerpt

Based on judges' reactions, C.J. Harris of Jasper gained a little ground on "American Idol" on Wednesday night, while Jessica Meuse of Slapout and Dexter Roberts of Fayette didn't hurt themselves, but didn't leap forward either. It's probably more crucial for Harris at this point, as he's been in the bottom rung of vote getters a couple of times now.

One thing Wednesday night showed was that the bonding among the contestants -- down to seven as of now, destined to be six after tonight's results show -- is rooted in reality. This week, songs were chosen by the contestants for each other. A pool came from each of the suggestions, and the performer got to pick his or her favorite.

When mentor Randy Jackson announced the theme, the kids laughed. "Listen: That does not mean sabotage," Jackson said, but he hardly need have bothered. Clips showed the Idol wannabes eagerly offering suggestions based on their friends' strengths.

Of the Alabamians, Meuse went up first, singing Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead," chosen for her by Sam Woolf. She opened with the "five things you may not know about me" bit: she has eight tattoos, seven of which she designed; her favorite animal is a wolf, "... though not Sam Woolf; sorry"; she was rejected from a school of music; was chased by a pony once; and believes in aliens.

"Because there is no way we are alone," she said. "I think I might have been abducted one time, but I can't remember, which makes me think I was." Hard to tell if she was kidding.

The judges didn't love the song, urging Meuse to connect more, emotionally. Jennifer Lopez said it "just didn't seem natural to me." Keith Urban said, "You're way better than that." Harry Connick Jr. urged her to go home and put on some funk or hip-hop, and watch herself dance in the mirror.

"When your rhythm is in your body ... it's gonna drive everything," Connick said. "You need to punctuate your vocal phrases more. We call it 'play it like you live' in New Orleans. …

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